Part 9 – Chiro
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Part 9 – Chiro

Thursday, February 4, was my first adjustment appointment at Calgary Muscle and Soft Tissue Clinic. This is not your typical chiropractic clinic. They also have a team of skilled massage therapists, and offer NUCCA Therapy, which treats chronic headaches, migraines, and neck pain through a very specific and gentle adjustment of the Atlas vertebrae.

I started by meeting with Dr. Trevor for a more detailed pain history, and completed the required paperwork. He assessed my posture again, and then took me to the imaging room. I’ve had Xrays before, but this was a totally new experience.

The entire imaging machine is at least 10 feet long. It is fully adjustable to the smallest millimeter for the most precise views possible. I sat on a small, low back chair, which slides, swivels, raises, and lowers. Dr. Trevor gave me a lead vest to wear. He moved chair around for the right height and angle. There was a plate behind my head, and a brace piece on each side of my head, to keep me in the exact position needed for each image. At one point he turned me around to face the rear plate and placed my chin on the plate in a small v-shaped chin rest. This kept my head tipped back to allow a clear look at the Atlas vertebrae. This vertebrae is a trouble spot for me, due to severe whiplash resulting from a vehicle accident in 1994. Physio, Chiro, and massage have been helpful with managing my pain, but only to a point.

Here are the actual Xrays of my neck:

My neck does not have the natural curve it is supposed to.
This view is from the front with my mouth open. The green lines show the angle of my neck. The orange lines show the correct angle. Not as far off as we expected to see, but enough that it causes pain and tension.
This image, from the back, shows my neck is slightly curved to the left. The yellow lines are supposed to line up with the white lines. See the bone at the very top that looks like the bottom half of a bow tie? That’s the Atlas bone.
This image was taken when my chin was in the chin rest, tipping my head back to reveal a view of the Atlas bone. It is incredibly difficult to get a view of this bone without this specific imaging equipment. Again, the lines aren’t matching up. The angle doesn’t look significant, but it definitely feels significant.
This view shows, again, that my neck is out of alignment, and precisely where and how it is out of alignment. The orange and green lines should match up.

After reviewing the images, I laid on my left side on the adjustment table. Again, not the typical table you may be familiar with.

You will notice that the head rest is very different. It is one solid piece, without the cutout space for lying face down. The table can be adjusted higher, or down nearly to floor level.
This view shows the difference between the height of the headrest and the rest of the table.

Dr. Trevor lowered the table all the way, angled his body according to the angles shown on the imaging, and applied very gentle continual pressure just behind my right ear. This took a few seconds. It is not the typical quick twist and crack. The pressure is applied by posturing his shoulders and squeezing them together to produce approximately 12 lbs of force. It certainly didn’t feel like 12 lbs! It felt like the kind of pressure you would use to check for swollen glands on your throat. You could say that Dr. Trevor used his posture to correct my posture!

The proof is in the imaging. Check these out, taken after the adjustment:

Look at the green line. Left is before. Right is after. The green line is noticeably more parallel to the center horizontal white line.
This is the back view of my neck. Look at the yellow center vertical line. Left is before, right is after. Doesn’t look like a big change, but it sure felt like it!

They booked two hours for my appointment because the initial imaging adjustment can take a few tries to get it right. This involves imaging, adjustment, imaging to confirm, adjustment, repeat. Apparently I didn’t get the memo, because Dr. Trevor was able to get it in one. I go back in about a week for another image and adjustment. If all goes well I might only need a few more. It depends on how well my muscles hold the new position.

I was told to expect some pain over the following couple of days. I didn’t experience much pain until Saturday. Some Aleve and a heat pack fixed that.

Thursday night I had a terrible sleep. Menopause insomnia and hot flashes were to blame. I had another brain training Friday morning so getting up on time was a struggle.

There is nothing new to report for the neurofeed back protocol, except it is getting more challenging for my brain. I was so tired afterwards that I went home and had a four hour nap, and still slept well that night. Fatigue is a good sign – it means my brain is working hard, which is exactly what we want.

A couple more brain training sessions, and it will be time to do an updated brain map. I am excited to see those two images side by side!

Stay well, my friends. Stay safe and healthy and warm. Get plenty of sleep! Our brains go a little haywire without it.

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